Series: Astronomers' Universe
212 pages, colour & b/w illustrations
Will it be possible to communicate with intelligent extraterrestrial life forms if we find them? How could we establish this communication, where would we begin? What does it mean to say that mathematics is a universal language? How could math be used to communicate with ETs? E.T. Talk summarizes the work of SETI, the Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence, and other search programs and considers the implications of, and concerns about, their possible success. Surely the next step after finding life elsewhere would be to try to communicate with it.
The author of E.T. Talk suggests concrete ways to approach this problem. This book, published in Spanish first, tells us what scientists currently know about the origin of life and its possible presence in the rest of the universe. It also describes the various methods used today to search for life in the universe. But the major focus of E.T. Talk is on communicating with ET and, using animals on Earth as an example, why we should feel encouraged that we will be able to do just that. The author even provides step by step instructions in a kind of language that could be used to converse with intelligent alien beings.
"E.T. Talk, the latest book [...] look like a computer studies guide, but its contents are well researched. [...] a wide range of disciplines are covered, from geology, biology to statistics and technology. A highly readable book for anyone interested in the debate about alien intelligence."
– Kulvinder Singh Chadha, Sky at Night Magazine, January, 2011
"Ballesteros (Univ. of Valencia, Spain) is an astrophysicist and a long-time science popularizer. This book is a clear translation of the original Spanish version, which received the European 'Estudi General' award for popular science. [...] book is useful because of its unusual insight into the nature of language and the challenges that would have to be met in attempting to communicate with an extraterrestrial civilization. Summing Up: Recommended. Lower- and upper-division undergraduates and general readers."
– T. Barker, Choice, Vol. 48 (9), May, 2011
"The most interesting and informative book [...] covers the key aspects of the subject in three parts. [...] This forms the main thrust of the book and makes fascinating reading. [...] it does lead on to a truly excellent analysis of language and its form and structure that I found really illuminating. [...] this book will give its readers an up-to-date and insightful study of the many aspects of the subject. I recommend it highly."
– Ian Morison, The Observatory, Vol. 131 (1224), October, 2011
Part I: With Whom? Finding Life in the Universe
Chapter 1: A Place for Life
Chapter 2: The Miracle of Life
Chapter 3: Life in the Solar System?
Part II: With What?: The Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence
Chapter 4: The Search Starts
Chapter 5: Where to Look
Chapter 6: The Searching Strategies
Part III: How?: The Language of Communication
Chapter 7: Different Languages
Chapter 8: Different World Views
Chapter 9: How Do We Know If There's a Message?
Chapter 10: Searching for a Common Language
Chapter 11: Is Anybody Out There?
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Fernando J. Ballesteros earned his Ph. D. in physics from the University of Valencia, Spain, where he is now a practicing researcher and astronomer. He is a long-time popularizer of science in Spain, including acting as coauthor of the radio program The Sound of Science, in Radio Nacional de Espana (Spain's national public radio service). He is also the author of the book Astrobiology, A Bridge Between the Big Bang and Life (Akal, 2008). He was a member of ESA's space telescope INTEGRAL team and researcher at the Spanish Astrobiology Center (CAB). The present volume is a translation of the Spanish version from Bromera, which was the winner of the European Award "Estudi General" given for popular science.